Dubois stays south

An update from Around Alone

Wednesday February 19th 2003, Author: James Boyd, Location: Transoceanic
Pos Yacht Lat Long SOG DTF DTL 24h Run
1 Bobst Group-Armor Lux -54.1 -111.8 21 4461.9 377.7
2 Solidaires -55.1 -114.7 16 4555.2 93.2 351
3 Hexagon -53.5 -119 11 4718.8 256.9 303.3
4 Tiscali -53.8 -119.3 12 4726.3 264.3 300
5 Ocean Planet -51.6 -121.4 12.6 4838.3 376.4 315.7
6 Pindar -51.6 -121.7 6.2 4851.1 389.1
1 Tommy Hilfiger Freedom America -49.7 -126.4 10 5059.5 280.3
2 Everest Horizontal -49.3 -137.2 NaN 5443 383.5 291.6
3 Spirit of yukoh -49.3 -140.5 6.8 5557.7 498.3 244.9
4 BTC Velocity -50.1 -149 6 5824.6 765.1 148.2
5 Spirit of Canada -48 -157.5 12.3 6174.6 1115.2 235.6

A week and a half into leg four of Around Alone and Bernard Stamm is of course leading, but this time Thierry Dubois is still very much in contention and positioned a degree to the south of his Swiss rival is set to sail a shorter course to Cape Horn.


Graham Dalton writes from on board Hexagon :

The Southern Ocean is giving me no respite. The last two days have been filled with the testing conditions I have now become accustomed to.

The wind has been averaging 40 knots and has not dropped below 30 knots. The waves are huge rollers that break, often over the top of Hexagon. The weather is squally. Clouds with torrential rain and excess winds underneath them appear on the horizon and within a matter of minutes hit Hexagon with the full force of their wrath, slamming the boat around in the ocean and flicking me like a pinball across the cabin. It’s dark and dirty out here.

The air temperature below is 6°C, which is not as cold as I was expecting. When on deck the temperature is well below freezing, due to the chill from the southerly wind. The waves breaking over Hexagon are ice cold.

According to the last position report, I had overtaken Tiscali by a short distance. This is great for moral, but the race is far from over, there are many more miles to sail before positions in this race will be settled. At current speeds I estimate I should be at Cape Horn on Monday. From here I will have another five to seven days of Southern Ocean conditions which will eventually change to the lighter winds and balmier conditions of the South American coast.

I am having problems charging my batteries at the moment. This is quite serious and needs to be fixed as soon as possible. If I were unable to maintain power in the batteries the consequences would be pretty severe. All my instruments, communications, autopilot, radar, even the lighting inside the cabin would be lost. My shore manager is working hard from New Zealand to help me find the problem and fix it.

Last night, there was a lull in the wind, as it dropped down to 30 knots. I went up on deck to check Hexagon over and the clouds above me all rolled away. The sky was clear with many stars and a full moon. The Southern Ocean rollers were breaking behind me and the light from the moon was shining through them. After having been thrown around below, coping with the anxiety of icebergs, the cold damp environment and the threat of large breaking waves, all feelings of discomfort and displeasure disappeared at such a beautiful sight. I am one of the few people in the world that will get to experience such a view and I feel honoured and lucky to be here.

Fair winds

Graham

Position: 53°34’S 117°48’W
Barometer: 978.8mb rising
Wind: SSW 40-45 kts
Cloud cover: Between 3/8 and 8/8 – cumulus and cumulonimbus
Sea state: Rough
Precipitation: Squally showers.

Tim Kent reports from on board Everest Horizontal

11:11 am Central, 1711 GMT Tuesday February 18, 2003

Today we are rocketing along the Southern Ocean Highway. True wind is between 25 and 32 knots and boatspeed are consistently in the 'teens. This is the way to gobble up miles down here. We are running under the solent (working jib) and a double-reefed main with the center ballast tank filled on starboard tack. HAL is acting the perfect gentleman and we are holding a course of roughly 085 degrees, which will keep me near my desired track of 50s.

There have been no more reports of ice in the last 24 hours, which is good. Geronimo and the 60s are farther south and east than we are, and the absence of ice reports means that the lane to the Horn might be ice-free, which would be a huge bonus. I just looked at the latest weather file and the next five days look very good; no nasty depressions. That takes me within a week of rounding the Horn. One more week of good - or just not evil - weather and we are into the Atlantic.

What we are doing right now isn't what I normally think of as "racing". Tactically, there are few options here. The bold and foolish might consider heading south to cut the corner to Horn, and in the past, when ice was not as far north as it is now, that was the normal option. But with that option gone, all we can do is aim east and go as fast as we can.

You can see from the position reports that Koji's powerful Finot 40 with its innovative rotating mast is staying within striking distance. These are the perfect conditions for Koji's boat, which is a 40 foot version of Brad's Finot 50.

EVEREST HORIZONTAL was designed to be a bit better in some of the other conditions that we will face when we turn the corner into the Atlantic. In the meantime, Kojiro is sailing an awesome race.

It is getting a bit colder as the southerlies bring the crisp breezes that they pick up on the Antarctic ice cap to us. I am comfortably swaddled in capilene and fleece, the only cold part of me is my toes. EH has a leaky water ballast system, which we have not been able to get under control despite attention paid to it at every stop. So I can't wear a ton of socks because I have to have something on that I can walk on the wet cabin sole with. The best solution I have come up with are fleece socks and my Teva sandals. If this is the worst deprivation I have to suffer down here, I'm in great shape.

Time for breakfast!

Tim

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